10 Skills To Have In The Post-Financial Apocalypse

It’s the end of the world as we know it, but that doesn’t mean you should give up on yourself. Here are 10 skills to have in our brave new world…

10. Food Preservation. Learn to preserve fruits and vegetables for the long winter. Make beef jerky! It’s healthy and fun.

9. Risk Management. Wikipedia says, “Financial risk management is the practice of creating economic value in a firm by using financial instruments to manage exposure to risk, particularly Credit risk and market risk.” Apparently, there is a need for people to learn how to do this.

8. Learn A Second Language. It’s a global economy, boys and girls. Time to learn to communicate!

7. Cooking. The days of getting take out every single night are over. You must learn to cook, and by cook, we mean “Prepare nutritious meals at a reasonable price.” You will probably not need to own any saffron.

6. Dumpster Diving. There are sure to be some good “deals” on office furniture to be had pretty soon…

5. Budgeting. Creating and using a simple budget is easy! Even you can do it.

4. Cooperation. For example, you could find other people in your neighborhood and car pool with them. To begin, locate another human who lives near you. Say, “Hello!”

3. General Repair and Maintenance Skills. Learn how to fix things! Change your own oil! You can do it! Hardware stores often rent tools, and some cities have “tool libraries” where you can check out what you need and then return it.

2. Gardening. Growing herbs on your windowsill is easier than you might think. Start small and concentrate on inexpensive plants that are hard to kill.

1. Self-Control. Benjamin Franklin said:

When I was a child of seven years old, my friends, on a holiday, filled my pocket with coppers. I went directly to a shop where they sold toys for children; and, being charmed with the sound of a whistle, that I met by the way in the hands of another boy, I voluntarily offered and gave all my money for one.

I then came home, and went whistling all over the house, much pleased with my whistle, but disturbing all the family. My brothers, and sisters, and cousins, understanding the bargain I had made, told me I had given four times as much for it as it was worth; put me in mind what good things I might have bought with the rest of the money; and laughed at me so much for my folly, that I cried with vexation; and the reflection gave me more chagrin than the whistle gave me pleasure.

This however was afterwards of use to me, the impression continuing on my mind; so that often, when I was tempted to buy some unnecessary thing, I said to myself, Don’t give too much for the whistle; and I saved my money.

(Photo: Maulleigh )


Edit Your Comment

  1. savvy999 says:

    Well done, Meg.

    Don’t give too much for the whistle, indeed. I think you (and Franklin) have summed up the current economic crisis succinctly. America for too long has paid too much for too many whistles.

  2. CountryJustice says:

    So, with the exception maybe No. 9, and to a lesser extent No. 6 (unless you’re like me and enjoy picking through Sunday evening yard-sale-left-behinds), this article is basically to tell us what we probably should have been doing all along anyway.

  3. CountryJustice says:

    Whoops. Meant to add:

    All in all, good advice, though.

  4. Move to Idaho and start a commune! That is the only waaaaaaaaaaay! Leave the grid and take up reading the Unabomber’s manifesto :D

    Actually sometimes the market does make me want to disconnect, but all you have to do is LIVE WITHIN YOUR MEANS and save when you can. Even I get sucked into the mantra of trying to out buy my friends especially gadgets, but I’ve had to reevaluate my situation more than once this year.

  5. nerdsavant says:

    Of course, if our young Ben had understood basic economics mixed with a little psychology, he’d have kept blowing the whistle all over the house until someone offered him 4 times what he paid for it to “just freakin cut it out already. Mommy has a headache.”

    Also … um … shun credit cards, kids!

  6. Tallanvor says:

    “You will probably not need to own any saffron.”

    Says someone who obviously has never cooked with saffron!

  7. orielbean says:

    Nerdsavant, they had a better method than bribe payment in those days for naughty children. I call it “five across the eyes”.

  8. akronharry says:

    But we are not supposed to save. We are supposed to spend and keep the economy moving. If everyone saved money, paid off their credit cards, bought only what was truly needed, we would be in dire straits !

    Spend Spend Spend!!!!!!! Buy outside of your means everyone!

    • P_Smith says:

      @akronharry: But we are not supposed to save. We are supposed to spend and keep the economy moving. If everyone saved money, paid off their credit cards, bought only what was truly needed, we would be in dire straits !

      Spend Spend Spend!!!!!!! Buy outside of your means everyone!

      Ben Franklin opposed spending while George Bush tells people to spend; Ben Franklin went to France and did business with the French.

      Ergo, in neo-convict “thinking”, Ben Franklin supports terrorism.

  9. nerdsavant says:

    When I was growing up it was just “one good one with the belt.” I would assume that the Franklins were somewhat more genteel. Anyway, he was 15th out of 17 children, by that point they’d have to be too tired to do much smacking around.

    And I agree with CountryJustice. If you’re not practicing most of these already, then you have too much spare cash lying around, and should probably send me some.

  10. NorthBeach says:

    If you must have saffron in your kitchen(like me), here’s a Consumerist tip: the Spanish variety is much cheaper than South Asian variety.

  11. arod says:

    Spend money wisely is really the lesson. Spend money on things that make money. It is a GOOD idea to purchase a house. It is a BAD idea to park a Hummer in said house. Invest in things that appreciate – houses will eventually do this WHILE YOU USE (I.E. LIVE IN) THEM. Cars, jewelry, Xbox, PS3, laptops, LCD Flat Panel TVs mounted on your wall, etc will all DEPRECIATE EVEN IF YOU NEVER USE THEM. I live in a house in a good neighborhood that cost me a lot. I drive a pos car that I bought in 2000. I’m not winning any drag races but I can afford my mortgage because of it.

    • mike says:

      @arod: Items are just dollars and cents. I understand what you mean: more people should learn to save and invest WISELY! I’m looking at you Wall Street!

      I have an XBOX because it helps me relax and I get to kill things legally. If I try to do that in real life, the police tend to have a problem. ;-) Same thing with a car. You need a car to take you to work. Otherwise, well, you wouldn’t get the money to buy the XBOX in the first place!

      Everything has a cost and benefit and it’s in the eye of the beholder to make that determination. I will underline that discipline is an important factor here.

      • The Porkchop Express says:

        @linus: I’m with you.

        you sometimes have to buy things that really only make you happy. You don’t need them, but you kind of do.

        I don’t mean go out and get the biggest tv you can fit in your house and by an xbox, wii, and the ps3. I mean get some things that you can use to de-stress/relax or even stay home and use. but too many people have to have every new thing that comes out and then they complain that they’re broke.

        also growing herbs is awesome, they’re easy and they seem to taste better when you just picked them.

        • mike says:

          @Lo-Pan: Growing herbs is a great way to spend a few minutes to a couple of hours. When I first grew herbs, I did research on best light for each variety, pots, etc. I was obsessed!

          The average grower need not do as much as I did. I was in college with a humanties major…had a lot of time on my hands.

          But yes, home-grown herbs are awesome! Growing veggiest can be quite rewarding as well, but require a bit more work.

      • arod says:

        @linus: Sorry if I implied you didn’t need a car. My last line indicated I do have a car, it is just an 8-year-old POS. What I was trying to stress is to spend the bulk of your money in things where you can get some of it back. Spend less on things that will never give you a return. If you will never get a return on a car, why does the car have to be a Hummer/BMW/Mercedes Benz? Buy a car with the lowest price/best gas mileage.

        As for luxury items (xbox, cable tv, etc), they are in fact a luxury. You state that you need an Xbox to refrain from killing people. I would suggest that the money spent on the Xbox would be better spent in therapy so that when the Xbox breaks down society won’t be in danger. I think your reply underscores a problem we seem to have, equating luxury with necessity. A car is a necessity (esp. when you live where mass transit is inadequate). A BMW is a luxury. I can accept that diversions/leisure can be a necessity. I can’t accept that it has to be in the form of a $300+ Xbox and $60+/game.

        • howie_in_az says:

          @arod: Some of us like to enjoy the fruits of our labor while still living well within our means.

        • The Porkchop Express says:

          @arod: You buy one x-box (pray it doesn’t die out of warranty) and a couple games. You may only buy three games in one year and some of those can be traded in for other games when you finish. or use gamefly (netflix of the game world) linus wouldn’t be spending that much money.

          I see what you are saying, I just think it may be going too far. You can’t have nothing. hell the xbox and a coupld of games can keep you from going out and spending more money because you are content to stay home and play for a while.

          people do need some self control, but I don’t think an xbox, for most people, is a dangerous economic decision. Hummer/BMW,Benz….yes very stupid. most cars are a horrible price for something you don’t really need. Just get the used/good price and good gas mileage.

  12. mike says:

    Does anyone else find it odd that people grow up with the notion that we are to get a good job, make a lot of money, and help out our fellow man and then find out that the government rapes you in taxes when you make more and more money?

  13. jodark says:

    Looks like those who mock hunters have a lot to learn.

    30.06 round: $1.50
    Hunting license: $30
    Rifle: $200

    Year’s supply of delicious venison: Priceless.

    • ORPat says:

      Except that you have to add:
      Gas (can’t hunt inside a city)
      Food (still have to eat, and maybe more because you are working for that animal)
      Lodging (even if you camp)
      Our last deer cost close to $600, the rifle was paid for years ago. Cleaned and dressed got maybe 75 lbs of meat. Cost per pound:$8.00. Sorry I can get Prime Rib for 4.99.

      • jodark says:

        @floraposte: Then you legally can’t keep the kill, sadly. I have however, seen a rural bar empty when it was reported that a deer was killed by a car only a mile up the road and the first person on site could claim it.

        @ORPat: You are probably doing it wrong.

    • kc2idf says:

      My brother-in-law keeps inviting me to dumpster dive with him; I just haven’t gotten around to it yet. He does dig up some seriously neat things.

      A former friend of mine who lived at the time in a fairly affluent neighbourhood used to bike around the area on garbage day and reconnoitre. He would then come around an hour or so later with his van and pick up the gems, repair them (applying skill #3 from above) and then either resell them, keep them, or give them to his friends.

      From his efforts, I have a stereo receiver and a microwave oven.

      That said, I have also been known to pick things up from trash heaps occasionally. In particular, I picked up a professional CATV modulator, an MF-AM marine band two-way radio, and a VHS camcorder. All were in working order, just obsolete. All have since been sold; the first two to some of my fellow ham radio operators, the latter to a low-budget videographer.

      On cooperating, more specifically on carpooling . . . I use public transit — the ultimate carpool. You do meet people from your area this way.

      @jodark: Gardening is a lot cheaper. :-)

    • lincolnparadox says:

      Amen to that jodark. Here in Iowa, the deer are basically corn-fed already. If my freezer isn’t full of venison, elk, and the quarter beef we buy every year, I’m not happy at Christmas.

      My advice top everyone is take small steps every day. For example, if you can’t stand tap water, buy a water purifier. Brita, Culligan, whatever. Then, buy two bottles for your family (I’d say stainless steel or aluminum, just avoid 3 and 7 plastics, the FDA is lying). Fill up those containers with purified water every night and pop them in the fridge.

      Brita (tap) filter system = $40
      4 replacement filters/year = $60
      6 stainless steel bottles = $120 (average)

      So, $220 dollars per year, with an annual $60 upkeep for new filters.

      If your family of 3 bought just one bottle of water per day for a year of workweeks, the cost would be $739.39. Plus, you’re not killing baby seals and amphibians with your annual personal ton of empty plastic bottles.

      Just a thought. Stop eating out, too.

      • Rectilinear Propagation says:

        If your family of 3 bought just one bottle of water per day for a year of workweeks, the cost would be $739.39. Plus, you’re not killing baby seals and amphibians with your annual personal ton of empty plastic bottles.

        @lincolnparadox: Not to mention buying water from areas suffering from a drought.

    • Stephen says:

      @jodark: Unless of course you live in Texas then you can add $1,000 – $3,000 for the lease you have to get just to be able to hunt.

      Ground burger at $3.00/lb isn’t looking so bad then.

    • Hamslicer says:

      @jodark: a .22, walnut trees, squirrels. Good eating!
      (and please drop the credit card “priceless” references!)

  14. Mike8813 says:

    Awesome quote! That Ben Franklin was a pretty smart fella.

    No wonder so many people think he was a U.S. President!

  15. perruptor says:

    That #4? Asking for trouble.

  16. ChuckECheese says:

    @BenjaminFranklin: TL;DR – Just kidding.

    As budgets tighten, mortgages reset and wages stagnate or drop, I’m seeing more and more signs of financial irrationality in my family and friends as they aggressively deny the inevitable.

    My brother takes odd, indirect circuitous routes when he drives anywhere, apparently because he enjoys the scenic route. His mortgage will reset next year, and I suggested he investigate refinancing and other options, since he admits he will not be able to afford his mortgage, but his reply is that he has no options, yet he hasn’t tried.

    Another friend brags about the deals she gets when she shops the specials at the grocery store, then blows it by paying $4.99 for a jar of mayo and $6.99 for a bottle of steak sauce. I explain that this is the trick these stores use to make their money on loss leaders, and the only way to truly save money is to buy only the cheap stuff and either forgo the expensive stuff, or buy it somewhere cheaper. And she says my idea is too much trouble, even though she spends a few hours a week poring over grocery sales flyers and online coupon sites.

    Others are deeply devoted to certain brands of products, such as Coke or Tide, behaving as if it’s a life-and-death matter that they have what they want, when they want it. It actually worries me a bit what will happen to these people and others like them (read: society) when they are finally forced to confront their financial limitations.

    Many of my friends act as if it’s insufferably tacky to shop for anything at Walmart or dollar stores, or to cook meals at home that contain ground meat. The apocalypse will be prosaic.

    • Kitteridge says:

      @ChuckECheese: I hear you on this. I remember once checking in my wallet for something while having lunch with a friend, and he noticed my grocery store coupons.

      “Coupons!” he said with a delighted, smug smile. “That’s so cute that you use coupons.”

      That’s right. Because a paper clip attached to things torn from my Sunday paper makes me look cute, that’s why I use them.

      It just stuns me that there are legions of people out there who think this way. Who maybe never had to think any other way.

      I’ve never known any other way.

  17. Omir The Storyteller says:

    In the article above it looks like you’re equating “risk management” with “financial risk management.” The two are not concurrent or synonymous; in fact financial risk management is just a subset of risk management, which is the art of deciding whether a particular venture is worth the risk involved. As I understand it, it involves three factors:

    What is the upside for this action if you succeed?

    What is the downside if you fail?

    Is the potential reward for success greater than the potential consequences of failure?

    If, after you determine #1 and #2, you decide that the answer to #3 is “yes,” you can move ahead.

    • ionerox says:

      @jodark: Ah! But it depends upon which state you live in and how you go about it. You might just need to contact the locat DNR and they’ll give you a permit to pick up whatever it was you hit or found. (At least, so says the Wisconsin state trooper who helped me out after a deer ran into my car on an I-94 entrance ramp…)

    • humphrmi says:

      @OmirTheStoryteller: More often #3is a comparison of the upside (profit) vs. the downside (expense – fees, fines, loss of brand value) and the decision is (unfortunately or fortuntely, depending on which side of the evil corporation debate you’re on) a simple math equation. If #1 minus #2 is a positive number, go for it.

      Again, I’m not saying it’s right, I’m just saying.

  18. dorastandpipe says:

    I think the most interesting suggestion was to learn a second language…maybe some of us need to move to India to get our old jobs back!

  19. deadspork says:

    A World of Warcraft subscription is only $15.00/month and can offer up to 8 hours a day of solid entertainment for months on end!

    On the flipside of that, the outdoors are free! Most places have parks and trails, you can camp and hike often very inexpensively, if not entirely free.

    Those are a couple of very cheap ways to unwind that I take advantage of. I’m pretty broke these days due to student debt and cutting back to part-time to try to finish school faster, so I find myself living la vida ramen quite often.

  20. superchou says:

    stop buying so much packaged foods. Buy raw ingredients and cook that way… plus it is normally so much healthier. I have even started baking my own bread. Instead of spending like $4.00+ on a loaf of sourdough I make my own for like a $1 – with minimal work too.

    • rockergal says:

      @superchou: how on earth do you do that when the price of yeast is insanely high???
      Yeast for one loaf of bread is about $4.00 its cheaper to buy a loaf for 89cents
      Seriously I want to know where you get your yeast.

      • dermot says:


        You make your own yeast.


        There are probably better guides; search around. One friend puts flour in a jar with water, covers it with cheesecloth (to keep out flies) and puts in on a shelf.

        24 hours later, the mix will have a slightly beery odor. Yeast: our invisible friend.

        People have been keeping yeast cultures alive for years, even decades. No need to spend vast amounts of cash.

      • hmk says:

        @rockergal: what on earth are you talking about? a loaf of bread takes like a teaspoon of yeast. I bought a jar and I keep it in the freezer. seriously, it could not have cost more than $4 and I’ve made many loaves of bread.

        • Ben Zvan says:

          @hmk: And it gets even better than that. If there’s a brewing supply store in your area, and there probably is, you can buy one jar of yeast at the grocery store and keep using it literally forever by growing your own yeast is a system from the brew store. Or you could do it the old fashioned way and use a sourdough starter with yeast in it.

      • marsneedsrabbits says:


        Sam’s and/or Costco has it pretty cheap. I store it in a sealed container in the freezer, because it is more than I can possibly use in a short period of time. You might use a tablespoon per loaf, and there are dozens upon dozens of tablespoons in a pound.
        You could split it with a friend, which would bring the price down even more.
        Sam’s has 2 1-pound packages for $4.16. I forgot to update my price book for Costco the last time I looked, but it’s a similar amount.
        Also, consider getting a sourdough starter.

      • ChuckECheese says:

        @rockergal: Yeast isn’t that expensive. Here a 3-pack of rapid rise is just over a dollar, and I can get at least two loaves out of one packet. If you need to divide, just measure out a barely heaping teaspoon, which will be 1/2 of the packet. Tightly fold and tape the packet closed and put it in the freezer for up to a month.

        Jars of yeast are $4-5. If you are a bread fiend, have a large family, or can find 2 or 3 people to share it with, you can purchase a large bag of it at a warehouse store for less than $10. One of those big bags must make a hundred or more loaves.

    • Eels says:

      Not really a bad suggestion. I cut my own hair for at least five years and I’m a girl. I had it both short and long. It’s much easier when it’s longer and you don’t need a mirror to see the back.

      My boyfriend has a pair of clippers and he does his own hair. I don’t know if he’s ever had a real haircut.

      For people not ready to make that plunge, Supercuts is like 8 bucks or something, or you can see if your local cosmetology school has free haircut days or discounts.

  21. Transuranic says:

    Caffeine tablets: 50x cheaper than coffee! (Save coffee for the treat on the weekends.)

  22. lalaland13 says:

    No. 4 reminds me of an Onion story: “98 percent of people favor expanding public transportation for other people,” about how everyone else should carpool but they can’t because well, they can’t, dangit!

  23. narfubel says:

    Being good in bed won’t hurt either…

  24. LindaJeanne says:

    @OmirTheStoryteller said: “As I understand it, it involves three factors: (1) What is the upside for this action if you succeed? (2) What is the downside if you fail? (3)Is the potential reward for success greater than the potential consequences of failure?
    If, after you determine #1 and #2, you decide that the answer to #3 is “yes,” you can move ahead.”

    Well, the probability of the upside and downside are factors as well. Also, the fact that there are always more than two possible outcomes. Fail to take this into account, and you get reasoning like:

    Risk: Getting out of bed.
    1. Upside: May find a winning lottery ticket, for which they are unable to find the origional purchaser. Score (dr. evil voice) one million dollars.
    2. Downside: May get hit by a truck and die.
    3. Reward greater than consequences?: No, winning a million dollars is not worth getting hit by a truck and dying.
    Conclusion: Don’t get out of bed.

    (Only it may be less obviously convoluted and nonsensical, which would make it much more dangerous.)

    • ionerox says:

      @LindaJeanne: To take it further…

      RIsk Management isn’t about the avoidance of risk. It’s about analyzing and understanding the risks. As part of this, you figure out if (1) the risk can be avoided by going about it an different way, (2) the risk can be mitigated by setting guidelines in place, or (3) the risk can be managed by creating a safety net. It’s the same sort of thing that the Consumerist usually advocates- do your research first and then figure out your next move from there.

      So you want to race motorcycles at 120mph? You buy good leathers, racing boots, an expensive helmet, and find a track to practice on. It’s still risky, but you’ve done what you can to make it less of a risk and still have some fun. (Well, compared to doing 120 down the freeway during rush hour without a helmet in jeans, sandals, and a wifebeater.)

  25. iNomad says:

    anybody got a beef jerky recipe? ;)

  26. mangr3n says:

    I wish this thread was a joke, but it’s just not… We’re going to watch our government create another great depression.

  27. not2techy says:


    While your economic altruism is, I suppose, admirable, I must confess that I take a somewhat more selfish view regarding my personal responsibility to single-handedly support the economy.

    To wit: Screw the economy before it screws you.

    (Sorry. I am actually in the process of aggressively downshifting my living expenses even as we speak. Buh-bye overpriced apartment, hello roommates. Buh-bye excess accumulated junk, hello eBay, pawn shop, used furniture store, used book store. Buh-bye ongoing automated subscriptions. This is where I get off the “toy culture” train.)

  28. no.no.notorious says:

    man, i wish i had real saffron. my PR food would be so much better. BUT imitation sazon has been a family “secret” for years that i’m proud to pass on. whenever i make my rice and beans, everyone comments on how good it smells. it’s the sazon….guess the secret is out.

    also, it strikes me as odd that many people really don’t know how to cook. i work in the restaurant industry and i think it’s weird when people come in for something that they can make at home (sandwiches, basic salads, grilled cheese, etc.)

    also, self control is important all the time. just because the economy is “good,” or you’re making alot of money, doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be frugal. you never know when things will suddenly turn around for the worse. and, ironically, there is alot of freedom in having self control.

  29. Ubik2501 says:

    A slightly more frivolous tip: Learn to homebrew your own beer. It can end up being as cheap as $0.40 per bottle, will give you clean hydration if water cleanliness is ever an issue (and can be “liquid bread” if necessary), can end up being damn tasty, and best of all will get you drunk enough that you won’t care that your 401K just disappeared!

    • nlongtin says:

      @Ubik2501: I second that! Not only is homebrewing a ton of fun, it can save you money, helps you better appreciate beer, and in case of widespread catastrophic water contamination provide a safe and refreshing beverage.

      The settlers drank beer all the time instead of river water and milk, because it was easy to make and free of contaminants (and tastes great).

      For proof of how fun homebrewing is check out my brewing blog, http://www.brewbeering.com.

  30. rtipping says:

    4. Cooperation. For example, you could find other people in your neighborhood and car pool with them. To begin, locate another human who lives near you. Say, “Hello!”

    No please no not this .tell me things aren’t that bad yet.

    • Thaddeus says:

      @rtipping: Sadly, We may have to start acknowledging our fellow man again. I Cooperated with this comment, costing others time by reading it. My apologies.

  31. jaxun says:

    Reads too much financial news. Cries with vexation.

  32. Dr.Martha_Jones says:

    In response to #2 I began composting last fall for the environment. I began growing herbs last spring for enjoyment and to save my own family a few dollars. I’m currently planning a vegetable & herb garden for next spring out of necessity.

  33. Antediluvian says:

    I’ll be planting my own Saffron this week. Very pretty fall-blooming crocuses.

    Then all I’ll need are some delicious recipes to follow.

  34. metaslugx says:

    Learning to cook yourself is absoluteness critical, it’s cheaper and tastier when you cook yourself.

  35. melia.dicker says:

    For these very reasons, I’m planning on doing a survival course and learning how to farm. I’m also planning on building my own house one day on land shared with several other families. Pooling your resources with people you trust makes a lot of sense.

  36. ChuckECheese says:

    No doubt there will be a lot of screaming over this suggestion, but what about learning how to cut hair? I admit I can’t. But I’d enjoy saving $20 or so each month. It’s getting more difficult to find a cheap haircut anymore.

  37. Barney_The Plug_ Frank says:

    Learning a second language!? What the fuck! How about teaching English to all who live here. It’s the use of a common spoken language that unites different ethnicities. Until the recent liberal take-over of this country, almost all spoke English or at least made the effort to learn. I’m not saying a second language shouldn’t be learned, but lets make sure the first priority is English–the common thread spoken in our diverse country!

    • @danno50: I … wow. Hoping McSame notices the brown on your upper lip there…?

    • Hamslicer says:

      @danno50: My Grandmother still speaks Norwegian (and English). Her Grandparents were immigrants. Up until 5o years ago they still printed newspapers in Norwegian in Minnesota. (Maybe other places as well.) Learn your history and show some tolerance.

      • Barney_The Plug_ Frank says:

        @Hamslicer: I’m tolerant to a certain degree and I see that your Grandmother is too. She took the time to learn the language of the new land she calls home, while, at the same time, not giving up her heritage. If I were to live in a non-English speaking country, you better believe I’d learn to speak and write that language. Thanks for providing an example supporting my point!

    • Rectilinear Propagation says:

      “I’m not saying a second language shouldn’t be learned…”
      @danno50: You’re just not going to let a perfectly good piece of advice get in the way of your rant.

      It’s a global economy.

      How well other Americans speak English is irrelevant when as to whether or not you can conduct business in foreign countries.

  38. rtac5b says:

    Risk management, specifically financial risk management looks at the amount that can be lost(like VaR, value at risk), but also determines how to minimize that amount using derivatives, like calls and puts. It’s very quant heavy. Once you know how to use derivatives you can do all sorts of cool spreads.

  39. danahyatt says:

    Learn A Second Language. Yea, graduated with an undergraduate BA and a required second language of Spanish. I should have learned a language that could help with conducting business with successful professionals. A language like Swedish, Swiss, or German but I learned a language whose speakers are mostly underprivileged. See the importance of a, useful, second language.
    Danno50 Thanks for the nudge.

    • screwtapeletters says:

      @danahyatt: Switch off to French. It’s not the same or anything, but of all the latin languages it’s the most widely spoken second-language in the nonwest besides English.

      Hell, I’ve been studying Arabic for a few years now and I’m still contemplating learning French, as it will be a good fall-back if I’m not being understood in Arabic.

  40. cerbie says:

    9: Priceless! I nearly spewed water all over my keyboard at the final sentence.

    7: there’s the rub, though. With the need to work being greater, the time for cooking is less, as is the time for shopping for food. Also, the cost of cooking can be very high, if you aren’t buying during work hours (IE, farmer’s market is DEAD by 6PM). I made some simple veggie soup (onion, green inion, carrot, celery, tomato (can because it was cheaper), mushrooms, garlic, boiled to hell and lightly seasoned), and it was almost $10 for the ingredients. I’m not talking Whole Foods, here, either (Kroger).

    Now, I was in the mood for some brothy soup, but it’s getting to where it’s not much cheaper to cook over eat out. If you want to make something you didn’t plan for, or the ingredients turn out to have looked more fresh than they were, you get screwed. Of course, that’s also why you should have dry beans and rice on hand at all times. Nothing is cheaper than bean soup, and any at least a day old is food fit for gods. Scrambled eggs and garlic-filled rice is also the best midnight meal ever (and, while I generally get the cheap eggs, even the nice eggs aren’t expensive, compared to ordinary veggies).

    I’ve been using my local new Indian grocers (two of them right on the way home opened ~3 months ago–I love it), but their selection of more common Western staples is, as you might expect, sparse.

    Of course, most anything where coupons help tends to be cheaper at Target or Walmart w/o coupons, so I really don’t get that, unless you’re really into frozen food, lots of dead animal, and/or hamburger helper type meals.

  41. Spuddude1 says:

    If you would like to learn how to store food and prepare for a hurricane and/or financial meltdown, you can get FREE advice from [providentliving.org] Click on Family Home Storage on the link on the left-hand side.

    For learning how to do longer term food storage, you can view [providentliving.org]

  42. All awesome advice, and eerily timed, since so much of this is going on at my ‘stead right now. My front yard is about to become a super-productive permaculture garden, and I couldn’t be more excited (er, and not just about the fact that I won’t have to mow it…).

    Douglas Rushkoff recently said that there’s no reason this collapse of the speculative economy needs to harm the REAL economy — this is a golden opportunity for people-on-the-ground to get control of their daily lives and products out of the hands of the global corporate system. People who garden, cook, cooperate, carpool, and so on will ride this out just fine.

    (Did anybody hear Diane Rehm today? The interviewer (some stand-in bloke what sounded JUST like Dustin Hoffman, seriously) was asking these financial hotshots what the worst-case scenarios were…and they mostly kept talking about ZOMG PEOPLE MIGHT NOT BE ABLE TO USE CREDIT! ARGH ARGH ARGH! …Which really left me thinking…maybe it’s time for this to happen?)

  43. Shippygirl says:

    I already use many of the tips discussed. (Although, I don’t know another language fluently or preserve food). Sorry for the long post…

    Budgeting has helped me the most. I’ve had one for a while, and was surprised when I found out my parents didn’t have a budget. When they lost their health insurance (work stopped carrying it), they finally sat down and figured out what they spend each month. It shocked them how much money they could save.

    Cutting out unnecessary expenses… I found I really didn’t use my Blockbuster subscription, so I cut it out and used the money towards gas. I don’t eat out as often, and usually cook at home and bring my lunch. This lets me use the money towards other things.

    When I make a shopping list, I review and cut out the excess. I check the price per ounce on items. I can usually save more by buying generic (though some generics taste bad or don’t work as well) than by using coupons on name brands.

    I also made a price list written in a small notebook comparing what prices my local grocery stores have on items. This helped me find out if I was really saving money at Wal-Mart vs. the local grocery store.

    DIY repair is another thing I believe in. I thought I would have to replace my window air conditioner until I consulted the web and my Dad. Both concluded I only needed to replace the cord. Instructables, wikihow, and other DIY tutorial sites have helped me become more independent.

  44. ScottCh says:

    A few much more obviously useful skills:

    1. learn how to travel by bicycle here

    2. Become good at fixing stuff instead of throwing it in the trash: DIY

    3. Save Energy. There are dozens of links with tips on the web, GIYF (google is your friend).

    I liked the item about engaging your neighbors. This has only stopped being completely natural in the last twenty or thirty years, when sidewalks vanished, garages hid whether or not we were home, and people stopped going outdoors often. Before that, you had to know the people who lived around you, you saw them every day. More often than not they were helpful.

  45. bagumpity says:

    #11: How to fill in a work visa application so that you can emigrate to formerly third-world nations to take the low-paying jobs that their citizens won’t do.